The following information was provided by the BMW Z8 Club in Germany and is being disseminated by them on various web sites. Thought it might be of interest to participants here.


Dear BMW Z8 owners,

In January 2006 we started to inform you about frame damages (deformation of the strut towers) on the BMW Z8 which could be caused by simply driving over an ordinary pothole. This topic was taken up by some BMW Z8 internet boards and by some automotive magazines and at times led to quite emotional discussions.

The BMW Z8 Club e.V has pursued this issue in a very engaging, neutral and independent manner, considering every possible detail at great length and working in a collaborative effort with BMW AG. The first step (taking a survey that lasted until May 2006) was to ask all BMW Z8 owners around the world to report any damaged vehicles to the Club, to then proceed to the second step (verifying the collected data by September 2006) and have these damaged vehicles inspected independently.

Initially, 30% of all BMW Z8 that were reported to us in the survey, which ended May 2006, were reported as having the damage.

Each vehicle that was reported to the BMW Z8 Club e.V during the verification period was inspected by September 2006. Currently we can not proof that one single BMW Z8 has received frame damage by driving over an ordinary pothole.

However we can proof that the vehicles that were inspected had previous damage, had been in accidents or had been damaged otherwise, and this damage, when compared to other vehicles, regardless of whether they had aluminum or steel construction and regardless of the car manufacturer, would have led to similiar deformation of the strut towers in any of them. This finding is inequitably supported by the two largest German automobile insurance companies and by independent automobile experts (which were contacted by us) according to which there are no abnormalities or increased damage frequncy apparent on the BMW Z8. The insurance companies and the independent experts concur with BMW AG's statement on this issue, which states that the multiple emotionally discussed topic can be traced back to "accident similiar situations" which would have led to damage on any other car as well.

There were isolated incidences in which an unforeseen event, such as e.g. sliding on wet pavement and a subsequent violent contact with the curb, led to the deformation of a strut tower with damage e.g. to other parts of the car. Afterwards, in general, these vehicles were still within the measurement tolerance guidelines set out by BMW. The insurance companies and the experts are of the opinion that in these situations the BMW Z8 is no more at risk for damage then any other car. The follow-up costs, however, are immense. The specific difference of the BMW Z8, in comparison to other cars is found in the special frame construction, the aluminum space-frame, which, in the case of strut tower deformation can only be repaired or exchanged at BMW repair centers and at an increased cost.

Aside from continually keeping our BMW Z8 owners informed on this topic it is also our aim to attain an alternative and less costly repair option from BMW AG, e.g. with the possibility to exchange damaged strut towers equivalent to other vehicles.

A Performance Package for the BMW Z8 exists since September 2006, consisting of a steel strut brace and steel strut supports with reinforcement rings which improve the stability in the front part of the vehicle, the kit can be installed at any BMW dealer and according to the installation manual takes about 8.5 hours to be installed. An alignment check will be done before the installation takes place.

In our opinion the installation of the Performance Package can provide increased protection to the strut towers and in extreme cases the frame as well, especially in unforeseen situations, (e.g. sliding on wet pavement and subsequently hitting the curb violently).

Because of the unanimous consensus of the insurance companies and the experts on the report of BMW AG, the BMW Z8 Club e.V comes to a conclusion on this issue as far as the survey and verification is concerned. We will continue the dialog with BMW AG with respect to the development of a less costly repair option for our cars.

Jurgen Wunderlich
Acting PresidentGrease Monkey